As Leader of Northern Ireland's cross-community Alliance Party, Lord Alderdice played a significant role in the
negotiation of the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement which brought Northern Ireland's thirty year 'Troubles'
to an end. He was then appointed Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly established as a result of the Agreement,
undertaking responsibility for developing all the procedures and administration of this new body and chairing its plenary
sessions. However, stabilizing the new structures and achieving full implementation of the Agreement proved difficult
because the IRA and the loyalist paramilitaries refused to decommission their weapons. In 2004 the
British and Irish Governments established an international commission tasked with monitoring and putting pressure on the illegal
paramilitary groups as well as monitoring the process of security normalization by the British Army. Lord Alderdice was
appointed as one of the four commissioners of this Independent Monitoring Commission and retired as Speaker of the Assembly
in 2004. The other three Commissioners were Joe Brosnan (former Head of the Department of Justice in Ireland),
John Grieve (former Head of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch) and Dick Kerr (former Deputy Director of the CIA). Over
some seven and a half years the IMC produced 26 monitoring reports on paramilitary and security activity, submitting
their final report to the two Governments on 14 March 2011. During this period the British Army withdrew from the
streets and community policing replaced the previous militarized security; the IRA and the main loyalist paramilitaries
decommissioned their weapons; and in the case of the IRA they stood down their members and directed them into democratic
politics where the republican party, Sinn Fein entered fully into power-sharing government with the unionists,
including supporting the new Police Service of Northern Ireland. Some small dissident republican splinter groups
continued to engage in terrorist activity and posed a danger to life and safety, but they no longer had any political
mandate or support North or South in Ireland. On the loyalist side too there were still criminal and gangster-type
activities. However the IMC was widely felt to have been a substantial element in achieving full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the stabilization of the new power-sharing government arrangements.
The IMC ceased operations on 31 March 2011, and its final report was published by the two Governments on 4 July 2011.